The IFCA researcher will be responsible, together with the rest of the team, for reviewing and updating the scientific objectives of this mission, the successor to Athena
15 November 2022
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the composition of the NewAthena Science Re-Definition Team, a team of 13 scientists from all over Europe, which will include Francisco J. Carrera, professor at the University of Cantabria and researcher in the Galaxies and AGNs group at the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA, CSIC-UC).
The astrophysicist will be part of a team in charge of reviewing and updating the scientific objectives of the Athena mission, one of the four large missions of ESA's Cosmic Vision programme, to adapt them to the significantly lower cost of its successor: NewAthena. At the end of its activity, estimated to take one and a half years, the team will issue a report advising ESA's Chief Scientist on the scientific value of NewAthena.
NewAthena will thus be an X-ray space observatory aimed at studying the hot and energetic universe, addressing questions such as the location, composition and physical state of most of the ordinary matter in the present-day universe, the history of the growth of black holes and how they affect the galaxies that host them, and the chemical enrichment of hot gas in galaxy clusters.
An artist's view of the Athena space observatory / ESA/IRAP/CNRS/UT3/CNES/Fab&Fab. Composition: ACO.
Athena: a mission to understand the hot, energetic universe
Nearly half of the ordinary matter in the Universe is found at temperatures of more than a million degrees Celsius, forming large cosmic structures. The hot and energetic Universe is the subject of ESA's next big mission (L2), scheduled for launch in the 2030s. And the mission implementing it is Athena. IFCA's Galaxies and AGNs group participates in the scientific definition of the mission, actively participating in different Athena working groups and leading one of its Thematic Panels. In addition, Francisco J. Carrera and his group are responsible for hosting and leading the Athena Community Office (ACO), which represents the "focal point of interest of the wider scientific community", coordinating multiple scientific activities and scientific dissemination. In addition, the group is working in the consortium of the X-IFU X-ray detection instrument, designing the software for the detection and reconstruction of the pulses generated by the absorption of X-ray photons in the detector. The researcher and astrophysicist Maite Ceballos is co-investigator Instrumental and responsible for the Event Processing Algorithms sub-system, Beatriz Cobo is a member of the X-IFU end-to-end simulator team and is part of the instrument consortium, Xavier Barcons is also co-investigator scientist of X-IFU and member of the consortium.
34 years dedicated to physics
Francisco J. Carrera graduated in Physics at the University of Cantabria in 1988 and obtained his PhD in 1992, under the supervision of Xavier Barcons. In 2000 he joined IFCA and started teaching at the University of Cantabria as a full professor. In 2018 he became a full professor at the same institution. In general, his research focuses on multiband extragalactic astronomy, specifically on the study of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs). He has been working at the IFCA for more than 20 years, and was deputy director of the centre from 2004 to 2008.
He is a researcher in the Galaxies and AGNs group at the institute.
Official website of the Athena mission.
Rebeca García / IFCA Communication